The Lincolnshire Animal Hospital Dog Therapy Group (LAHDTG) was established about 27 years ago, making it one of the first pet therapy groups in the country. It began with a nucleus of hospital staff and their pets. Through the years, by attracting interest from dog owners everywhere, it grew to its current membership of approximately 33 handler/dog teams. Over the past 27 years, the Group has been recognized in many newspaper articles, has been featured on television and has been the recipient of several awards.
Recognized by the American Kennel Club and having expanded and matured, LAHDTG has established itself as a part of the Lincolnshire Animal Hospital and is pleased to announce openings to qualified people/dog teams. The Group serves schools for autistic children, hospitals and nursing homes, as well as facilities for the mentally and physically disabled throughout Lake and other Northeastern Illinois Counties. It has also been called upon to make private visits to persons in hospice care and physically disabled, homebound individuals. Our volunteer dogs and their handlers bring unconditional love and affection to those in need of a smile or companionship.
Members visit a variety of facilities in the North and Northwestern suburbs of Chicago on a volunteer basis. For admission to the Group these four-legged friends and their handlers have passed a test given by the Director, which includes simple obedience tasks, tolerance of medical equipment, general friendliness, as well as the ability to exhibit an outgoing nature and compatibility with people and other dogs.
Why therapy dogs? Among the many mental and physical aspects enhanced by pet therapy, it has been scientifically proven to lower blood pressure and significantly reduce stress levels. Through interaction with a friendly, non-judgmental dog, there is also evidence that an individual’s self-esteem may be enhanced. Our Group has witnessed instances during which non-communicative individuals have spoken to the therapy dogs when these people have not spoken at all in the recent past. Conversations established by the handlers often lead to the remembrance of beloved dogs and other pets, thereby inducing pleasant conversation.
For inquiries about participation in the group, information about LAHDTG can be obtained by calling Marilyn Putz, Therapy Dog Group Director at: (847) 433-3439 or email inquires to FEPMGP@aol.com.
Marilyn Putz, Group Director
Learn More about Marilyn & the Therapy Dog Program
Lincolnshire Animal Hospital
420 Half Day Road
Lincolnshire, IL 60069